Using statistics of gun ownership from USA Carry via About.com and Bureau of Justice gun homicide data, I was able to create the gun culture health ratio for each state.
Several maps help give a visual understanding to these numbers. The first map shows the ten states with the greatest and least percentage of population with guns.
|Same color scheme applies with yellow being the middle.|
|Percentage of guns is nearly reversely correlated with the health status of the state's gun culture. Only Mississippi (high gun ownership yet high gun homicides) and Connecticut (low gun ownership yet only average gun homicides) resist the trend.|
|Click to enlarge or download the image for full resolution. Maryland, which has the deadliest gun culture in all the United States, is on par with Costa Rica's. Meanwhile, Wyoming, which has the healthiest gun culture in all the United States, is on par with Latvia (which in turn beats runner up Vermont which is on par with gun owner paradise Switzerland)|
The northern interior core spreading from Oregon to Wisconsin along with the rural New England states as well as West Virginia have the healthiest gun cultures. While there is an overall tendency for the states with more guns to have a healthier gun culture there are enough exceptions to show that there has to be something more. Average gun owning states like Oregon and Nebraska are among the healthiest and so is low gun ownership Vermont. Meanwhile heavy gun owning Mississippi and Louisiana (especially Louisiana) have poor gun cultures.
My own personal opinion: all the analysis points to something deeper. Gun ownership rates and gun culture healthiness are not ends of themselves but instead the product of something greater. The interior west and western Midwest have more two-parent families, better parent interaction with children, and the long Western tradition of gun ownership has made teaching respect of guns to the next generation a strong family value. Meanwhile, the deadliest gun culture states have much weaker families, higher rates of divorce (though that is now common everywhere), a more transitory population, and the most violent demographic, young men, have no tradition of gun respect but instead live in thug culture which praises the gun's deadliness.